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State of the Binder: Day 8

2/19/2013

TAMPA, Fla. -- Joe Girardi's daily news conference was moved back to the cozy confines of the manager's office as much of the media throng that descended on The Boss for Monday's first day of full-squad workouts has dispersed. He spoke for just over 11 minutes today, and here are the highlights:

HUGHES DOWN: Phil Hughes, penciled in as the No. 4 starter, complained of some upper-back stiffness after Monday's PFP drill and will be shut down for a few days. More details in my news story on the website.

PHELPS UP: Too early to tell if it means anything in the competition with Ivan Nova for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, but Girardi said David Phelps, who pitched two simulated innings this morning and nearly lost his head to a Ronnier Mustelier line drive, will get the ball for Saturday's spring training opener against the Braves in Kissimmee.

WARREN, TOO: Adam Warren will start the second preseason game, on Sunday, Feb. 24 against the Blue Jays at The Boss. No starters designated beyond that yet.

NUNEE COULD THROW IT ALL AWAY: Girardi has high praise for Eduardo Nunez as an offensive player ("He provides a lot of excitement") but said there was no guarantee he'll be on the big league roster when the team goes North. "He's got to earn it," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line." He said Nunez would play "a substantial amount" at shortstop until Derek Jeter is ready to reassume his role later this spring.

JOE DROPS THE F-BOMB: No, not that one. F as in "fail," a word he used to describe Ivan Nova's 2012 season. "I think any time someone goes through a substantial period of struggles, confidence can become an issue. No one likes to fail," he said, before catching himself. "I know that's a big word, 'fail,' but he didn't pitch to his ability."

JOE REALLY LIKES PRETZEL CRISPS: ”I know this because there are literally cases of them stacked up in his office. And he didn't seem very pleased to see the team publicist, Jason Zillo, wolfing down a whole bag of them during the press conference.